We have had an unbelievable string of luck with these wines over the past few vintages, and I have come to look forward to what each new vintage has to offer, especially this year’s 2005s. Each year my appreciation for the efforts Pascal and Mireille Renaud grow. This young couple manages their small Domain, only 12 hectares, with vines growing in the Macon, Pouilly-Fuisse, and St. Veran. Within their new cuverie, built about five years ago, they work predominately with stainless steel and large German foudres. This is done to maintain brightness and freshness of the fruit and the purity in the expression of the terroir. I think they have achieved this, once more with these terrific 2005s. These are wines that exceed expectation, bright lifted aromatics, fresh and driving acidity that balances ripe and round fruit. 2005 Domaine Renaud, Mâcon Charnay ($11.99) The wines from Mâcon Charnay typically have a soft floral nuance; I think it is the higher concentration of granite in the soils. This wine perfectly expresses this terroir! Behind ripe orchard fruit on the nose is the tell-tale floral character. The palate is moderately round with delicious ripe orchard fruits and just a hint of cream. It possesses plenty of charm, and is capable of winning over die-hard burgundy fans as well as adventurous California Chardonnay drinkers. The 2005 Domaine Renaud, Mâcon Solutré ($11.99) This wine hails from the higher hillside vineyards under the monolith Solutré. These vineyards tend to be steeper, have better drainage, experience cooler evenings and most importantly tend to have more limestone and chalk in the soil. As you would expect, this is a wine with more focus and cut and a pronounced mineral vein. The ripe apple and pear fruits elegantly balance the minerality on the palate and it possesses remarkable length. This is a terrific Burgundy bargain —Kirk Walker
On a recent trip to Burgundy I had the chance to taste the wines of Domaine Jean Monnier. Winegrowers since 1720, this family makes both reds and whites. The change of generations has led to an improvement in their wines, but the world has not yet beaten a path to their door. We are pleased to be able to bring them to you directly, at most favorable prices. The 2003 Bourgogne Aligoté ($10.99) is spicy and bright with rich fruit from the warm vintage and lovely acidity. The 2004 Meursault Chevalières ($29.99) is long, elegant and balanced, with pronounced Meursault minerality. The 2004 Meursault Clos du Cromin ($29.99) comes from near the Volnay border, and shows lime notes and a softer character than the Chevalières. We also have imported two premier Crus, from two of the top vineyards in Meursault, the 2004 Meursault 1er Cru Charmes ($41.99) with rich round fruit and lots of charm and weight, as well as the 2004 Meursault 1er Cru Genevrieres ($41.99) , which has a more vibrant focus and more prominent minerality, as it comes from the desirable upper portion of this vineyard. Finally, we were lucky enough to get a wonderful red, the 1999 Pommard 1er Cru Clos de Citeaux ($41.99) . It is from a 15-acre family-owned monopole vineyard located in Grands Epenots, adjacent to the famed Comte Armand Clos des Epineaux. It was an ancient holding of the Monks of the Abbey of Citeaux, since 1207. Chosen for a walled vineyard in 1200, and in continuous cultivation for about 800 years, this is a special place. The wine has length, elegance, pretty cherry notes and comes from a great vintage. And it sells for a song, thanks to our direct import. Don’t miss it! Á Sante! —Keith Wollenberg
In 1967 the Consorzio Brunello di Montalcino was formed by a small band of producers. The Consorzio guided producers in marketing, production and the legal requirements in a region that was not the leading edge of wine in Italy or anywhere else, for sure. Amongst the first group of producers hardly any even had a label, so the Consorzio made a label showing the building in which the Consorzio is housed in “downtown” Montalcino, and many of the wineries inserted their name. Today there are 204 members and about 10% of those don’t bottle their wines. Instead, these 28 or so wineries sell their grapes. Two of these are now directly imported by K&L: Baricci “Colombaio di Montosoli” and Podere La Fortuna. Nello Baricci’s small parcel of land sits on a hill called Montosoli and is one of Montalcino’s most prized and renowned vineyards. Nello is a man of the earth, his body shows the years of effort spent working his estate yet when you look in his eyes it is like gazing into a moonless night sky with thousands of stars shining towards you. There is something magical about this humble man. Mike P and I visited the estate, tasted through the different botte (wooden tanks). One after another, Brunello and Rosso, all left the same signature of Montosoli on our palates. It starts out as a mixture of black cherry, soft leather, plum, cinnamon and earth and weaves these flavors together changing textures as the wine airs. While drinking the 2001 Baricci Brunello di Montalcino ($34.99) at dinner with his family, I asked if we could taste something older. I was thinking the 1998 or 1996. Nello’s son Graziano took off for the cellar returning with the 1985, perhaps the greatest vintage in 30 years. The wine had an uncanny resemblance to the 2001. The genesis of both years started with harsh cold snaps. Nello said the 1985 tasted the same way when it was young. Stock up with the 2001; it will reward your efforts. Gioberto Zannoni’s 2001 La Fortuna Brunello di Montalcino ($36.99) (1.5L $66.99) has just been awarded Gambero Rosso’s 3 Glass Award as one of Italy’s top wines of the year! We’ve long believed in the quality at this winery and thought that their unique blend of ripe plumy fruit accented with hints of earth, spice and mineral would be an instant hit here in America. The supple textures that Gioberto’s wines have allow the wine’s powerful structure to blend in and not dominate on your palate. La Fortuna is situated on the eastern slope of Montalcino, bordered by Fuligni and Siro Pacenti, a couple of super famous names in Montalcino. The 1999 La Fortuna Brunello di Montalcino Riserva ($44.99) , 92 points Wine Spectator, is a glorious wine capable of aging another 10-20 years showing the impeccable balance of this astonishing vintage. The 2004 vintage is fantastic, and the wines are sensational! Try the 2004 Baricci Rosso di Montalcino ($18.99) or the 2004 La Fortuna Rosso di Montalcino ($17.99) and see the quality now! —Greg St. Clair
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